Old men in skull caps and robes sit on low stools at the roadside, chatting blithely, appearing not to notice the roar of the traffic. Young women wearing jeans, leather jackets and casual veils hurry by on their way to an internet café to update Facebook and chat with friends over coffee.
The Azadi Tower was built in 1973 to mark 2,500 years since the first Persian Empire.
Tehran’s culture is changing rapidly, and any downtown coffee house offers the perfect people-watching spot to take it in. Then there are the grand monuments, from the imperial splendour of the Golestan Palace to the modernist Azadi Tower, which when illuminated at night, bears a striking resemblance to a pair of 70s flares. If the smog and noise of the city gets too much, escape to the snow-capped mountains, where you can try the thrill of skiing at the world’s fourth-highest resort.